Honorary Life Member is the highest accolade that Water New Zealand can bestow on a member. The member enjoys the same rights and privileges as individual members, but they pay no annual subscription.
At its 2011 Annual General Meeting the members of Water New Zealand endorsed a motion by the Board to replace the separate Life and Honorary categories of membership with one category of Honorary Life Member.
Item 4(f) of the constitution reads:
An Honorary Life Member shall be a person who has been an Individual Member or the representative of a Corporate Member, and who has made a sustained and significant contribution to the Association. Honorary Life Members shall be nominated by the Board and shall be elected by a majority vote at a General Meeting.
Jim Graham is nominated for honorary life membership in recognition of his commitment to the water industry and contributions to the activities of Water New Zealand. Jim is known throughout New Zealand as someone who has passionately pursued his belief that all people are entitled to safe drinking water.
In 2003 Jim was the regulator who worked with the Masterton council and numerous consultants through the Masterton cryptosporidium event. This event gave rise to the writing of the first public health risk management plan that ensured there were improvements put in place to avoid a repeat of such an event. Subsequently, public health risk management plans (now water safety plans) were prescribed in the drinking water amendment to the Health Act that he had major influence over whilst working with Dr Michael Taylor in the Ministry of Health between 2005 and 2008. Jim was the respected leader and advisor within the drinking water assessor fraternity.
Not content to sit back and observe the impacts of new legislation and drinking water standards that he helped to create, he wanted to do more by helping water suppliers. He left the MoH to join Opus International Consultants Ltd. During his time at Opus between 2008 and 2017 he assisted many councils to document their drinking water risks and chart pathways of improvement.
Jim knew then that industry reform and change was needed. In 2017 he joined Water New Zealand staff as a Principal Technical Advisor. This was a time where - on the back of the Havelock North Inquiry - he could play a major part in advocating for new drinking water quality legislation and industry reform. He became a respected spokesperson for the water industry to highlight issues that would be solved through a new Water Services Act. With reform in sight, he joined the transitional entity to what is now Taumata Arowai in 2020.
His 30 years plus of experience in environmental science – with emphasis on drinking water quality - has now culminated with his position in Taumata Arowai as a Principal Water Quality Advisor. In the very short time that this regulator has been in existence, he has been instrumental in driving through new legislation, supported by drinking water standards and assurance rules that will make sure his vision of safe drinking water for all will be realised.
Without Jim’s passion and his caring for the health of New Zealanders, the water industry in New Zealand would be in a very different place in 2022. There will be many members of Water New Zealand who have benefitted from Jim’s expert and perceptive advice. He is a truly worthy honorary life member in this association.
Brent Manning is nominated for honorary life membership for his contributions and commitment to the water sector over almost 40 years. This has included senior leadership roles in three local authorities and in the contracting and consulting sectors. He has contributed papers to the Water New Zealand Conference on seven separate occasions on a wide range of topics and served on Standards New Zealand Technical Committees. He served for five years on the Board of the Association, two as President, and led the Water New Zealand team in the Oxfam Water Challenge in 2015. He has concurrently played an active role as the CDEM Controller for Taranaki including for two declared emergencies.
In addition to his work in New Zealand, he was the Establishment Chief Executive for To Tatou Vai Ltd, the Cook Islands government owned water utility on Rarotonga from 2018 to 2020.
He has been active in the reform programme, consulting to Taituara (formerly SOLGM), as a member of the Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd 3 Waters Stimulus Investment monitoring team and currently as the DIA appointed Council Interface Manager for Entity B.
Siobhan Hartwell is nominated for honorary life membership for her contributions and commitment to the water sector over more than 25 years.
Siobhan is GHD's Regional General Manager - New Zealand and the Pacific. She is a civil engineer with over 25 years’ experience on a wide range of water related projects in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States of America.
Siobhan has made significant contributions to the water industry throughout her career. She was on the Board of Water New Zealand for five years. She is a past president of Water New Zealand and a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand. She was Chair of the Stormwater Special Interest Group Technical Committee for five years.
She has a broad background in water infrastructure and has delivered numerous strategic studies relating to integrated three waters management, including the current Three Waters Reform. Siobhan has continued to engage with and contribute to the water industry – particularly through Water New Zealand – outside of her professional duties.
Steve Couper has had a longstanding and active association with Water New Zealand and the water sector, worthy of receiving the recognition of Honorary Life Member. He is a Past President of Water New Zealand, serving in the role during the period 2012–2014, first elected to the Board in 2009.
Steve is the Asia Pacific and Australasia Digital Services Leader with Mott MacDonald. In his early years he was a process engineer with Beca in the 1990s, then with Harrison Grierson for almost 10 years, and a similar period with AWT as Managing Director then Executive Director. In 2014 Steve took up the role of Asia Pacific and Australasia Water Sector Leader with Mott MacDonald, taking up his current role at the beginning of 2020.
Throughout these 30 years, Steve has been ever-present at the Water New Zealand Conference, with the status of being one of the familiar faces that is noticed when he is not there. He is a regular presenter and session chair. He participates in Young Water Professionals events, fostering the next generation of professionals. He’s a familiar face at Ozwater conferences too. Steve is a committee member of the New Zealand branch of the International Water Association (IWA) hosted by Water New Zealand and leads the IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery Special Interest Group. The Committee arranges a stream at the Water New Zealand Conference.